Faculty Friday: Stephen Zunes

Every Friday, the International Studies Department will profile one of our amazing faculty members so you can get to know them better and see all the amazing work our faculty do!


Stephen Zunes is a professor of Politics and coordinator of Middle Eastern Studies. Since first coming to USF in 1995, he has taught courses on the politics of Middle East and other regions, nonviolence, conflict resolution, U.S. foreign policy, and globalization for the Politics department, BAIS, MAIS, and the minors/concentrations in Peace & Justice Studies and Middle Eastern Studies. He received his BA from Oberlin College in 1979 and spent his first few years after college in Philadelphia, Washington and Boston working various odd jobs for pay while engaging in political organizing and free-lance journalism.  Eventually, he received his MA from Temple University in Political Science in 1984 and his PhD from Cornell University in Government in 1990. Prior to coming to USF, he served on the faculty at Ithaca College, Whitman College and the University of Puget Sound and directed a small policy institute in the Seattle area focusing on U.S. Middle East policy.

Currently, Professor Zunes serves as a writer and senior analyst for Foreign Policy in Focus (part of the Institute for Policy Studies), an associate editor for Peace Review, a contributing editor of Tikkun, and a member of the academic advisory council of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict. He is the principal editor of Nonviolent Social Movements (Blackwell Publishers, 1999), the author of the highly-acclaimed Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism (Common Courage Press, 2003) and co-author (with Jacob Mundy) of Western Sahara: War, Nationalism and Conflict Irresolution (Syracuse University Press, 2010.)


A prominent specialist on U.S. Middle East policy and strategic nonviolent action, Prof. Zunes has presented numerous lectures and conference papers in the United States and over a dozen foreign countries. His travels have taken him to 75 nations, including trips to the Middle East and other conflict regions, meeting with prominent government officials, scholars and dissidents, making him persona non grata in a number of authoritarian states. He has served as a political analyst for local, national, and international radio and television; a writer for the Huffington Post, Truthout, Alternet, Open Democracy, and Common Dreams websites; and currently writes a monthly foreign affairs column for the National Catholic Reporter and a twice-monthly column for The Progressive. He has also published scores of articles in academic journals, anthologies, magazines, and newspaper op–ed pages on such topics as U.S. foreign policy, Middle Eastern politics, Latin American politics, African politics, human rights, arms control, social movements and nonviolent action.

His consistent positions in support of human rights and international law have earned him the wrath of both the right and the far left and arguably receives more Internet hits than any USF professor, not all of them positive.

Since coming to USF, he has enjoyed a number of short-term academic appointments, including serving as a research associate for the Center for Global, International and Regional Studies at the University of California-Santa Cruz; a visiting professor for the International Master in Peace, Conflict, and Development Studies at Jaume I University in Spain; and, most recently, a visiting research professor at the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago in New Zealand.

He has been a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship on Middle Eastern and Central Asian Studies at Dartmouth College, a Human Rights Fellowship at the Center for Law and Global Justice at the USF, and a Joseph J. Malone Fellowship in Arab and Islamic Studies, as well as research grants through the Institute for Global Security Studies, the United States Institute of Peace, and the International Resource Center. He was the recipient of the 2015 Dean’s Scholar Award from USF’s College of Arts and Sciences and, in 2002, he won recognition from the Peace and Justice Studies Association as their first Peace Scholar of the Year.

Professor Zunes lives in a cohousing community in Santa Cruz with his wife Nanlouise Wolfe and is the father of three children: Shanti (28), Kalila (25), and Tobin (23).



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